L’utilizzo della lingua inglese per l’ISP non è un obiettivo formativo a sè stante, ma è un mezzo per preparare gli alunni a un contesto globale dove tutte le competenze linguistiche, formali e informali, sono un pre-requisito, costituiscono una forma mentis per aiutarli a comprendere meglio e risolvere i problemi della società contemporanea. E così l’inglese, l’italiano, una terza lingua, altri linguaggi, come il digitale, il linguaggio dei mass media e così via, diventano un denominatore comune, il trait d’union fra le differenti aree disciplinari che gli allievi affrontano nel loro percorso formativo.
L’uso della lingua diventa strumento di apprendimento in altre aree didattiche e in situazioni di vita quotidiana, favorendone l’uso in differenti momenti della giornata scolastica. I bambini vengono incoraggiati ad usare la lingua inglese il più possibile, per comunicare in aula ed a scuola e per prepararsi meglio nella scuola per l’esame finale, che sarà in questa lingua. I loro tentativi di comunicare e di farsi capire vengono valorizzati e recepiti in maniera positiva. Gli insegnanti supportano l’apprendimento ed incentivano un uso corretto della lingua, creando un ambiente ricco di stimoli, fungendo essi stessi da esempio, facendo svolgere lavori di classe su specifici aspetti grammaticali.
Gli alunni fino a 14 anni seguono lezioni e un programma di formazione principalmente in lingua inglese, integrato da lezioni di lingua italiana per consentire a ciascuno studente di esprimersi fluentemente in entrambe le lingue, preparandosi inoltre all’esame italiano di terza media in modo naturale. Nei primi due anni di PYP sono previste sei lezioni settimanali di lingua italiana che diventano otto negli anni successivi. Nei primi due anni di Middle School la percentuale media dell’uso della lingua italiana è di circa il 25% dell’orario delle lezioni, sale a circa il 35% nel terzo anno in vista dell’esame di terza media. Successivamente tutte le lezioni sono esclusivamente in inglese, eccetto che per le materie linguistiche, ciascuna insegnata da docenti di madre lingua.
“At ISP, we believe that language is crucial for all members of the school community to develop a global mind-set, allowing access to a greater range of experiences in an ever-more interconnected world.”
This document represents ISP’s Pre-school and Primary School language policy. ISP’s whole school language policy is a set of dynamic guidelines which reflects the IB continuum and our changing school community. The document is therefore updated regularly based on our students’ evolving needs and IBO requirements.
ISP is situated in the City of Palermo. We have a very low student turnover with nearly all of our students spending more than 4 years with us. This gives us the chance to create a school where our students can learn together, taking academic steps in unison.
Primary Years Programme
In general, our students begin the PYP from Kindergarten. Some students join the school in G1 (age 5, beginning of Elementary). English is the language of instruction with percentages between 80 % (Early Years) and 75% (Elementary). This fosters English language learning since the beginning as most of our students only speak Italian at home.
The Italian Community
Most of our students speak Italian, having parents who at home speak Italian and are Italian mother-tongue, which is therefore studied as Language A. For the teaching of Italian, we follow national standards, using IB principles and methods. Only in a few cases we have bilingual families. The foreigner students are very few.
English is a foreign language for almost every student entering the school in the PYP, but for our students at age 2, 3 and 4 the English as the language of instruction and communication is a natural process, therefore English is also studied as Language A. In some cases, in particular for students entering ISP in the Primary School, students have a lower level of English, therefore we have an “EAL” (English as an Additional Language) system into place that supports these students and helps improve their level of English after an evaluation process.
In order to boost progress in the PYP there are various after-school initiatives offered by the teachers like the “Phonics Club” where students can work on improving their English. There are also several CAS opportunities whereby older, expert students tutor the new arrivals or the younger students.
Years of experience allows the school to expect the following minimum levels of in English.
End of G2 CEFR A1
End of G4 CEFR A2
End of G6 CEFR B1
Language A English Students
Those students whose native tongue is English are known as Language A English speakers. Their teachers should set them specific tasks and evaluate them using Language A criteria even if they are in classes when the majority of their classmates are not native English speakers.
The Non-Italian Community
Those students arriving from abroad or with non-Italian or non-English family backgrounds, could have difficulty understanding some parts of lessons delivered in Italian or in English. In these cases, we try boosting their level of English, which is the main language of instruction and of the final exam, via our EAL system. Italian is taught as language B as an alternative to language A, and it is also possible to arrange a substitution of Italian acquisition with the students’ mother tongue with an extra cost. Italian becomes automatically language of acquisition (Language B), subject already offered in the Middle School.
It is an IB principle that all teachers are, in practice, language teachers with responsibilities in facilitating communication. The main language of instruction in the PYP is English, and alternatively Italian. Therefore all class teachers must be native English or Italian, or, in any case, have a recognized title for nursery or elementary school education in English or Italian. In the PYP the main teacher, along with the language, also teaches the first elements of the individual disciplines, therefore it is almost impossible to separate the language lessons from the others. The same also applies to any teachers called to teach an alternative language for students who are neither English nor Italian mother tongue.
All staff should have a minimum B1/B2 level of English/Italian in order to understand school-wide communications, which are often in English and/or Italian. Help is offered to those staff requiring advice on improving their language and translation is available most times. This further reinforces that language learning is a life-long process.
The majority of ISP families do not talk English on a daily basis, even though most of them have good knowledge of English. Families in which Italian is not practiced or known are very few, if not none.
ISP families are offered advice, through parent evenings, newsletters, individual parent-teacher conferences and three-way conferences on how to help their children progress in language acquisition.
We advise them to provide access to the English language at home via sub-titled DVDs, original version films, books from our library and internet content etc.
The majority of our books will be in English, with the exception of those that are necessary for the preparation of the G6 Italian State Exam (end of the Primary Italian school), and that in all cases there will be extra materials produced by teachers (photocopies, notes…) in English.
Our library also has a selection of books in various languages, including Italian, French, Spanish and Indian.